Sunday Newsletter — 5/10/2020

Recommended Reading

How Adding Iodine to Salt Boosted Americans’ IQ

Notes:

  • The more I go through life, the more I have come to realize that subtle nutritional inputs are of vital importance to health and cognitive function. The information in this article further strengthened my conviction on the matter.

Excerpts:

  • “Iodine deficiency today is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the world. It’s estimated that nearly one-third of the world’s population has a diet with too little iodine in it, and the problem isn’t limited to developing countries — perhaps one-fifth of those cases are in Europe (pdf), where iodized salt is still not the norm.”
  • “And iodine’s mental benefits may even help explain the Flynn Effect, which observes that IQ rose about 3 points per decade in developed countries throughout the 20th century.”

A Beautiful Humans of New York Story

Excerpt:

  • “Her personality, her love, I’m talking deep love, for me and the children, changed me one inch at a time.”

Effective Altruism

Excerpts:

  • “[Effective altruism] is a research field which uses high-quality evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to help others as much as possible.”
  • “…most [charity] projects (in many domains for which we have data) don’t appear to have a significant positive impact. And, more optimistically, because there appear to be some interventions which have an enormous impact. But without knowing which experts to trust, or which techniques to trust in your own research, it can be very hard to tell these apart.”

Is Oatly Oatmilk Healthy?

Notes:

  • I really didn’t want to believe the conclusion of this one, but after doing some additional research, I decided to stop drinking Oatly oatmilk. This product has been exploding recently, and I wanted to share the article in case any of my readers currently drink it.

Excerpts:

  • “Trans-fats have no safe level of consumption and have (finally) been officially banned in the US [4]. Seed oils like rapeseed and canola oil are one of the few foods left that still contain toxic trans-fats [5]. Based on its nutrition information, we can calculate that each 8 oz cup of [Oatly] oat milk (the amount in a small latte) contains about the same amount of oil as a medium serving of french fries. A large latte with oat milk would contain over 10 grams of rapeseed oil, much more oil than in a large fries. Every time you drink a latte with [Oatly] oat milk, you’re getting the toxic and inflammatory equivalent of a medium to large serving of french fries.”
  • “After water, oats, and rapeseed oil, the next ingredient is dipotassium phosphate, a food additive in packaged foods originally derived from animal bones and urine. It is now extracted from phosphate rock and put through chemical reactions to make it edible [6]. Other foods that typically contain added phosphates are processed meats, soda and colas, fast food, and frozen chicken nuggets [7].”

Charity I’ve Been Learning About: GiveDirectly

Notes:

  • GiveDirectly provides poor family with straight cash, delivered via payments to cheap mobile phones, to spend however they choose. As simplistic as this strategy sounds, the evidence suggests that it tremendously effective.

Things I love about this charity:

  • It is strongly evidence based. They do a bunch of great research to determine whether or not their interventions are effective.
  • According to GiveDirectly’s research, giving no strings attached money to poor people in developing countries doesn’t lead to increases in their consumption of tobacco or alcohol. All in all, they tend to spend their money very well (often using it to start businesses, send their children to school, buy vital medication, etc).

Journal Excerpts

Some say it’s what you know. Others say it’s who you know. In most instances, it’s actually what you know multiplied by who you know. If one of the two variables is quite large, it can make up for a deficit in the other.

Some days, you show up and get nothing. Other days, a perfect creation flows out over the course of a few minutes.

Plenty of people have found their passion after spending years, and sometimes even decades, feeling lost and purposeless. Keep going.

How can I listen to many different people and maintain my sanity? They’re all saying different things, many of which clash with one another. Sometimes, the dissonance created is overwhelming.

Until you strike the gold, every shovel will yield nothing but dirt. The fact that you haven’t gotten what you wanted yet doesn’t mean you’re digging in the wrong place.

Photo of the week by @chaseschoberphotography

I use this page to share the highlights of my research, exploration, photography, and miscellaneous writing.